Today we got to get together for a little mission reunion in Bulacan! Which is just a little bit north of Manila. It was an absolute blast seeing our friends that we served with as well as our amazing mission president and his wife.
We all went to bed a little bit passed seven last night, so we woke up at about five-fifteenish to start the day! That sounds crazy early, but here in the Philippines, the whole world is awake around five or six haha. We wanted to get a early start on the travel since we were going to go from Manila to Bulacan. If there is no traffic, it would probably take thirty to forty-five minutes to get there. We got a bunch of directions from people at our hotel, so we felt pretty confident in getting there. People are always so good to help you out. So we all hop on this jeepney that we were supposed to take to get to another bus terminal which would then take us to Bulacan. We didn’t know exactly how long we should be on this jeep because someone at the hotel told the driver when to drop us off. The jeep filled up and emptied multiple times, and we still hadn’t gotten to our place yet. We then realized that we had just been going in a huge circle and really were not anywhere near the bus terminal. We would tell people who were riding with us that we were going to Bulacan, and they would ask us why we were on this jeep haha. The driver knew where we needed to go the whole time, so I have no idea why he accepted to take us. When the jeep emptied again and we were the only ones remaining again, the driver told us he would just take us himself to the bus terminal even though it wasn’t part of his route. So sure enough he did. We felt bad, but at the same time, he never said anything to us. He even gave us some fried bananas! We offered to pay him more money for the time spent on his jeep with our stuff, but he rejected it. So we were probably on that jeepney for about an hour total when it should have only take 10-15 minutes. Haha so much for getting and early start!
The bus ride to Bulacan was fine. Traffic wasn’t too bad and the bus we took wasn’t crowded at all thank heavens. There was no air conditioning, so we just had the windows down, and it felt good to have the wind hit your face. My favorite part of the ride was riding through part of Bulacan where they sell flowers and plants to put in your yard. Basically nurseries line the streets. The streets, and everywhere you looked were completely full of gorgeous tropical plants. Too bad I can’t bring every single one of them home with me! After we got off that bus, we had to climb up some stairs to a different road in order to catch a different jeep. We got on that one for point two seconds until it broke down, and they had us get off. We decided we would just take tricycles the rest of the way so that we wouldn’t have to keep switching.
FInally we arrived at the resort that our friends own, and where we were having our reunion. We should have taken into account Filipino time, because we arrive right on time, and no one else came for over two hours. Not cool. It was really nice to have the entire waterpark to ourselves though. Not one other person was there! Seeing our friends that we served in Laoag with was absolutely amazing. It is so fun to see where life has taken them as well as the couples that now have babies! Imagine one baby with marshmallow rolls all over his body… 5 months old and wearing 12-18 month clothes. Haha and then the most precious little girl with curly black hair, and had the most contagious smile ever. We totally wanted to bring one home with us haha. We were able to sit and chat with our mission president and his wife for a long time. They are always so inspiring, and we admire them so much.
My old companion, Sister Ramos was the one who cooked all of the food for it, and she is so good. She graduated from culinary school, so when I say she is good, she seriously is so good at cooking. We had some classic filipino dishes as well as some other stuff that I requested that you can see in the photos.
After we ate, we swam some more, and got more sun burnt. Oh poor Braiden, he should probably listen to me when I tell him to put sunscreen on the first time. 🙂 We planned to stay overnight at the resort there, but then we decided that we really had nothing to do there in Bulacan for an entire day, and so we should just try and catch a bus up to Ilocos tonight! And so that is what we are doing right this second. It is 3:57am and we are riding a bumpy bus up to Vigan. I never got the chance to go to Vigan while in the mission, so I am so excited to see this raved about place!
We still can’t believe that we are in the Philippines. We keep saying that to each other. The humidity, the heat, the smells, the food, and the incredible people are all coming back, and it has been so fun to relive some of the memories that we have of our time spent serving here.